Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cradled up in the arms of the Lord

As I wrote once before awhile back, I have suffered from "guilty Catholic" syndrome for years. Now mind you, I'm not a bad person. I believe in God, I pay my taxes and I certainly haven't murdered anyone. But, I was absent from a church pew for years. I mean years. We're talking close to 10 years. During those years the only time I set foot in church were for my Grandfather's funeral and his subsequent Anniversary masses, held on the date of his death. That's it. My brother and I would go so far as to joke that we shouldn't enter church because it might set fire if we stepped inside. Ha ha.

Then, I became pregnant. I started to think about my upbringing. About how yes, I felt that during the later part of my teenage years I was forced into church. Forced to sit in the presence of my peers, many of whom were hypocritical in their faith. In hindsight, I shouldn't have judged them. Yes, many of them had been drinking the night before and were most likely hungover as we were at Youth Group. They pretended they were perfect little angels. I thought they were pathetic.

Now, I (and hopefully they) have grown up. I should think about me. About my relationship with God. About how God sees me. Not about how I see them or how God judges them. I should have wanted that relationship with God while I was younger. Instead I felt like my Mother was force-feeding God to me. Shoving him down my throat as far as he would go before I gagged. I resented her for it. I should have thanked her. Thanked her for taking me to church every Sunday. Thanked her for the year I attended Catholic school Thanked her for bringing me up the right way. For helping me to believe in God. Thank you, Mom.

Granted, going to Church, believing in God- that isn't right for everybody. To each his own. I'm not here to judge. You can believe in clowns for all I care! Whatever makes you happy and brings you peace at the end of the day. But, for me, it was right. It was what I needed. Here I am years later, and that Catholic upbringing is still embedded in me. Right down to the core.

I decided that while pregnant, I'd like to attend church. I'd like my child to know God. But, I would not force God on him or her. Instead, I'd introduce him to God and then let him decide what he wanted to do as he got older. But, I wanted him to have that chance to get to know God. To see if God fit with him. Perhaps he would be like me and stray for awhile, but eventually come back home. And that's all right. We all have our own paths, our own journeys we have to take.

Jason and I both decided that we wanted Aidan to be baptized. We wanted him to have God's blessing. Since Jason was not really brought up in a religion that he embraced, we decided to baptize Aidan as a Catholic. We have attended Mass here in Houston and have found a church that we really like. Jason is even considering taking RCIA classes to become a member of the Catholic faith. We took baptism classes down here, but wanted to have Aidan baptized back in Ohio so that our families could be present for the special day.

And what a special day it was! Both of our extended families were able to come together to watch our little man become a child of God. Most babies are baptized as newborns, but Aidan was all ready over 5 months old. He was much bigger than the other 2 little babies being baptized that day. And much more vocal, too!

My sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, Aaron, were the ones we chose as Aidan's Godparents. They will be wonderful guides for him and we know they will help to keep him on the right track towards leading a fulfilling life.

This was also a very special day for my Grandmother. At 87, she is the matriarch of my family. It meant a lot to me that she was here to witness Aidan's baptism. She is a devout Catholic and it was a proud moment for her to witness another of her great grandchildren's christening.

One of the happiest moments of the day for me was seeing Aidan in his baptismal gown. It was made in 1908 by my great-great grandmother. It has been passed down through the generations and many of my family members have worn it on their christening day. I was worried that it would not fit Aidan, since he isn't a newborn. But, with his long, thin frame- it was a perfect fit! He looked like an angel.

We were asked to choose one of our family members to do a reading during the ceremony. We chose Jason's Dad, since he is often lovingly referred to as "Preacher Al" by his Grandma. It was a meaningful moment for us to watch him give a reading at Aidan's christening. I'm sure it was special for him, too! The Deacon also offered to bless all of the children present. So my niece and both nephews received a baptismal blessing along with the babies.

Afterwards my sister, Maureen, threw him a wonderful party at the same restaurant where I had my baby shower this past November. The food was great and we had a delicious casada cake for dessert.

Our families were very generous and showered him with gifts. Here is one of my favorite's from my brother. Gotta love it!

We couldn't have asked for a better day.

This past Sunday we took Aidan to Mass for the first time at our church here in Houston. It went really well and we are hoping to start taking him every Sunday. I believe we're off to a good start!

"May the Lord give his angels charge over you to guide you in all your ways." ~Psalm 91:11

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